Artist: Vomit Forth
Album Title: Seething Malevolence
Label: Century Media Records
Date of Release: 8 July 2022
We’ve all been there – you wait for someone to pass you in the supermarket, and they blank you; you’re cut up by another driver on the road; someone acts in an antisocial manner on public transport. Well, instead of stooping to their level and acting inappropriately, I suggest you get hold of a copy of ‘Seething Malevolence’ because it is the utterly perfect soundtrack to help channel your rage in a much more constructive manner. Lay back on a sofa in a darkened room and with headphones or start a one-person mosh pit in your living room, whatever floats your boat. Either way, it’ll help with that pent up anger inside I can tell you. Your neighbours might not agree, especially with the latter option, but I think it’s a splendid idea quite honestly.
Hailing from Connecticut on the US East Coast, Vomit Forth is comprised of vocalist Kane Gelaznik, bassist Tyler Bidwell, drummer Nick Herrmann, and guitarist Ricky Bravall. They have built up a name for themselves in the death metal underground since their reasonably recent inception, releasing two EPs, ‘Inherent Laceration’ in 2018, followed by ‘Northeastern Deprivation’ the following year. Bookended by a couple of demos, their name and reputation caught the attention of Century Media Records and so we’re now presented with the quartet’s debut full-length album, ‘Seething Malevolence’.
The title of the record is well-placed too, because this album is about as disgustingly vile and malevolent as it is possible to be whilst still plundering the genre of death metal. Mind you, Vomit Forth are intent on demonstrating that they are more than just a brutal, uncompromising death metal band, as they lace their music with other influences and sounds in order to create something just a little bit different. To the casual observer, and me on a first listen, you could be mistaken for thinking that ‘Seething Malevolence’ is a 29-minute slab of thunderously heavy, bruising, and menacing riff-obsessed death metal, where there’s no space for frills, bells, or whistles, just cranium-busting aggression and groove. To an extent, that’s true and when you’re in the mood for it, there is definitely nothing wrong with that.
But, if you’re prepared to be constantly battered by repeated spins of ‘Seething Malevolence’, you begin to realise that there is more going on than you first thought. I’m not sufficiently well acquainted with the East Coast death metal scene to name drop bands at will, but the music here seems to fit the mould pretty well whilst adding a few nuances for good measure. For a start, I hear forays into grindcore ferocity at points, as well as deathcore slams and breakdowns, plus the band aren’t afraid to utilise electronic sounds on occasion too. And whilst I’m not normally a fan of the ‘core’ elements, it seems to work here, perhaps just because the music overall is just so filthy and violent.
To underline the band’s desire to try a few new things within their music, the opening track, ‘Untitled’ is an unnerving piece of brooding noise/ambience, composed by Vatican Shadow’s Prurient (Ian Dominick) after he reached out to Vomit Forth personally. It both fits well with what’s to come, and acts as a surprising beginning to the record. Either way, I have grown to quite like it, as brief as it is. And happily, there is a continuation of the opener which closes out the last couple of minutes of ‘Pious Killing Floor’ and indeed the entire album. In so doing, the album is bookended by the minimal sounds of what feels like a suspenseful horror film.
In between though, Vomit Forth deliver nine and a half blistering tracks of savagery that essentially bash my skull in with a meat cleaver, beginning with the ultra-sadistic and weighty slab of death entitled ‘Eucharist Intact’. The guitars sound like slabs of granite being thrown at your ears, whilst the drums and bass shake the foundations with a thunderous, yet dextrous attack. The guttural vocals meanwhile, gurgle and growl impressively, occasionally plummeting to depths that feel like they should be impossible to reach. The song manages to sound unbelievably extreme, but also groovy as hell, with some haunting sounds at the death to increase the sense of unease.
The groovy riffs continue from the outset of ‘Pain Tolerance’, as it lurches forward with all the subtlety of a hand grenade thrust down your trousers. The slams that I’d normally bemoan here actually enhance the track, whilst the sounds of agonised screams in the background towards the end only add to the evil nature of the music that I find myself listening to here.
Pinched harmonics and an increased pace signal the onslaught of ‘Tortured Sacrament’, although once again, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a stomping behemoth as the foot is applied effectively to the brake pedal to completely alter the dynamics of the song. The only thing that devalues the composition is the slightly lazy fadeout at the end.
‘Unrecognizable’ is a personal favourite as it is a little longer, nearly hitting the dizzy heights of four minutes. In that time, the quartet once again toy with the listener by mixing up the frenzied, speedy charge with sections of slower groove. We’re even treated to a gloriously dirty and vaguely melodic lead guitar solo which I thoroughly enjoy but then find myself bemoaning the lack of solos elsewhere. Double-edged sword.
The title track offers something a little different, as Kane Gelaznik experiments with higher-pitched, black metal-esque rasps, as well as a slightly cleaner tone where you can almost hear the words that he is spitting out with feverish intent. The song also offers a little more by way of overt melody, or at least a slightly more immediate hue, as ‘melody’ seems completely the wrong descriptor here.
Meanwhile, ‘Severely Wounded’ is a two-minute blast of sheer unadulterated power that sees the vocals veering into grindcore ‘pig squealing’ realms, whilst ‘Carniverous Incantation’ has a twisted, almost progressive feel to the off-kilter riffing unless I am gravely mistaken.
I still get the feeling that there is more to come from Vomit Forth in the years ahead, that perhaps the material on this debut album is merely scratching the surface. Only time will tell on that front. In the here and now, it is very difficult for me to reach anything other than a positive conclusion. It may last for less than half an hour, but there is so much packed into ‘Seething Malevolence’ that you never feel short-changed. And given how extreme the music undoubtedly is, any longer and the effect and intensity of the output may have suffered. As it is, I feel wounded and violated, but in a good way thanks to ‘Seething Malevolence’, the debut long-player from Vomit Forth.
The Score of Much Metal: 89%
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